A HEADINGTON couple worry a planning application next to their home could badly impact on their privacy and set a precedent for other developments across Oxford.

Jo and John Norridge have lived in London Road since 1977 and a planning application next to their home, which city council planning bosses have said should get the go-ahead, will be decided tonight.

The couple said they are worried that their ‘rights to privacy will be ‘walked all over’ if two flats are built on land next to their garden in Ramsay Road.

Developer Pascal Pert wants to demolish a single-storey side extension and put up a two-storey building with two one-bedroom flats in its place.

In an email to the city council, seen by the Oxford Mail, the couple argue: “Our back bedroom would have a grandstand view into the living room of their ground floor flat and into its garden.

“Rights to privacy for Oxford residents are clearly not worth the paper they are written on.”

In a city council planning document published in 2013, planners said that there should be ‘at least 20 metres between directly facing windows to habitable rooms in separate dwellings’.

But the Norridges said they had carried out their own calculations and found that the distance between windows in the new development and their own home would be just 17 metres.

The city council said the only exceptions to that planning policy, as referred to in its Sites and Housing Plan 2011-2026, should be student accommodation.

Mrs Norridge said: “It will act as a precedent for other developers.

“They will say: look at what happened at London Road.”

Six city councillors, including council leader Susan Brown, former council leader Bob Price and the Norridges’ city councillor Dee Sinclair have called in the application, so councillors will vote decide whether it goes ahead.

As part of the city council’s guidance, it states: “When planning new homes, or changes to existing homes, regard should always be paid to the impact of windows overlooking other homes’ windows and gardens.

“Potential for unacceptable overlooking will depend on the proximity of windows to neighbours’ habitable rooms and gardens, and the angles of views between windows.”

The council said the development would be 6.5m high – about 0.6m lower than buildings nearby.

The development would also be car-free if approved – but cycle parking would be provided..

The matter will be decided at the east area planning committee at the Town Hall from 6pm.